Lawmakers consider moratorium on gas operations after leak

This Dec. 17, 2016 photo provided by Earthworks shows an overhead aerial view of the relief well at the Aliso Canyon facility above the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles. (Pete Dronkers/Earthworks via AP)

This Dec. 17, 2016 photo provided by Earthworks shows an overhead aerial view of the relief well at the Aliso Canyon facility above the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles. (Pete Dronkers/Earthworks via AP)

SACRAMENTO — A bill to extend a moratorium on operations at the natural gas storage facility that had a massive leak for almost four months goes before a legislative committee Monday.

The bill would require Southern California Gas Co. to test all wells at its Aliso Canyon facility near Los Angeles before it can resume storing gas in a massive underground reservoir.

A leak reported Oct. 23 that spewed uncontrollably for 16 weeks was permanently sealed last week. The gusher of invisible natural gas sickened residents living nearby in the San Fernando Valley and uprooted 6,400 families, mostly in the Porter Ranch community.

Senate Bill 380 by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, would require that all 114 wells remaining at the SoCalGas facility pass tests to show that they are safe before gas can be injected deep underground.

Similar rules were put in place last week by state oil and gas regulators, but Pavley’s bill would provide the certainty of a statute requiring action and not be left up to regulatory discretion, spokesman Timm Herdt said.

Pavley’s bill would require the state Public Utilities Commission to determine if it’s feasible to shut down or minimize use of the Aliso Canyon facility.

Many residents who live nearby and had their lives disrupted by the leak, along with environmental groups, want the facility permanently shut down.

The gas company said it has no intention of shutting down its primary storage facility — the largest one of its kind in the West.

The commission and other agencies are investigating what would happen to energy supplies in the region if the storage facility doesn’t resume operations.

Pavley’s bill would also require that dozens of wells drilled before 1954, the same vintage as the one that leaked, would not be able to withdraw gas until they meet specific conditions.

Californiagas leakLos AngelesPorter RanchSacramentoSouthern California Gas Co.

Just Posted

The fate of San Francisco nicotine giant Juul remains to be seen, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing whether to allow certain flavored vape products on the market. <ins>(Jeenah Moon/New York Times)</ins>
How the vape king of teen nicotine addiction rose and fell in San Francisco

‘Hey, Juul, don’t let the door hit you on the way out’

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Most Read